NEWARK, NJ - Tuition-free community college has been extended and expanded for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

For New Jersey students enrolled in at least six credits at any county community college, the adjusted gross income threshold for tuition-free eligibility has increased from $45,000.

As of this school year, students who have an adjusted gross income below $65,000 will be considered for the Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) that will cover remaining tuition balances. 

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There is no separate application. If a student has completed the FAFSA of the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application for Dreams, they are automatically considered for state aid. 

If not, the financial aid forms by Sept. 15, 2019. 

“Over the past year, our Community College Opportunity Grant program has helped many New Jerseyans obtain a higher education they otherwise would not have been able to afford,” said Gov. Phil Murphy in a statement. “I will continue my call for sustainable revenues in order to provide college affordability for our New Jersey’s residents so that each individual has an opportunity to thrive.”

The Community College Opportunity Grant is “last-dollar,” meaning that funds are applied directly toward tuition and educational fees after state and federal aid is accounted for. 

A higher eligibility threshold would allow more people to have a chance of pursuing higher education. 

Essex County College was not one of the 13 community colleges selected for the tuition-free pilot program in Fall 2018 but was included when the program expanded to all community colleges in Spring 2019. 

“Through innovative academic programming and access to the CCOG funds, many more Essex County College students were able to continue their journey in earning credentials of economic value that will better their lives, improve their communities, and ultimately move the state of New Jersey forward,” said Essex County College President Dr. Anthony Munroe.